Mr Trump has a $1 trillion domestic infrastructure investment
"plan", utilising home-grown labour and material. Whilst
time will test the legitimacy of these plans, they prompt countries
all over the world, including Australia, to look to our own
infrastructure needs. Do we have a strong and sustainable
infrastructure development plan that will attract and maximise
returns on investment in construction and infrastructure?
When the GFC hit in 2008, WA weathered the storm relatively
unscathed due to its mining and resources industries but the same
can not be said for our eastern State counterparts.
Suffering the impacts of the economic downturn, bodies such as
Infrastructure NSW and Infrastructure Victoria were established to
ensure that those States had access to independent, long-term
planning and investment advice, aimed at boosting their economies
through 20 to 30 years' worth of strategic investment in
These bodies aim to protect a State's government-funded
infrastructure projects from being used as political bargaining
chip and give that State an opportunity to make the investment
decisions aimed at ensuring sustained growth.
In late 2016, the Civil Contractors Federation WA (CCF), in
conjunction with BIS Shrapnel, released a report titled '
WA Infrastructure Report 2017'. The report contained a
detailed analysis of the Western Australian economy and options for
weathering the upcoming tough times.
The report states that debt is not always a bad thing and
encourages the government to take advantage of reduced interest
rates by borrowing to fund future construction and infrastructure
projects for the State.
The report also points to what its author perceives as WA's
short-sighted planning. It then calls for measures to ensure that
the State's projects (and the resources required to fund them)
are not tied to a particular four-year parliamentary term.
This suggestion is echoed in a report titled "Building the
West" released by a coalition of key construction and
engineering groups (including the CCF) (the Infrastructure Coalition).
Infrastructure Coalition hopes that a new statutory body called
'Infrastructure WA' will embrace a bipartisan approach to
managing infrastructure and construction opportunities within the
State, focused on sustaining economic growth for the State and
making long-term (20-30 year) plans for infrastructure
This suggests that both public and private sector interests are
looking to shake up what may be seen as outmoded planning and
investment process in WA. It indicates moves towards a more
independent and long-term solution for our State's economic
future driven by investment in construction and infrastructure.
These are moves that HHG Legal Group wholeheartedly supports.
When times are tough, government spending on large
infrastructure projects creates the energy and enthusiasm needed to
dig out of an economic rut. We do not need a wall but we do need a
long-term plan and commitment from our State government (and any
party aspiring to be elected to government in a few weeks) to
building much needed and essential infrastructure to get us through
the next "boom".
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